Friday’s Feature with Clare Revell

I’m so excited to have Clare Revell here today to answer some fun questions and share her new book, Dark Lake.

Thank you so much for being here, Clare.

Tell us about your favorite character in your new book.

That would be Lou. She was the heroine in my YA series Signal Me. I wanted to do a story about her when she’d grown up and Dark Lake kind of just wrote itself. She’s feisty, has a temper, hates taking orders or being told she can’t do something.

Do you read the reviews and comments of your readers? How important are reviews to authors?

Yes, I do. Not that I get many – some books have loads, some have none. I find that hardly any are put on the UK side of Amazon and being a British author I always look there first. Even a short I loved it is great.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

Ignoring the fact that Lou is my middle name and I hate taking orders? I tend to put a fair amount in. Dad always recognises things from my childhood. Hubby always recognises expressions as mine such as saying afty instead of afternoon. And strangely enough all of my heroines hate eight legged creatures. (not octopi)

Some people believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Nope. And it definitely doesn’t pay millions. Or produce film deals or anything like that. It’s a lot of hard work. Most of the day, or night, is spent handwriting each book, then typing it up.

Who are some of your favourite authors?

I grew up reading and loving Enid Blyton and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then moved on to Danielle Steele, Elizabeth George, Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler.

Have you met any of them and found yourself having a fan-girl moment?

No. But TV stars… several. And the hosts of a quiz show on the BBC did a book signing at our local book shop before it closed. So I went and bought a book, had my photo taken and yes… fangirled.


DARK LAKE

Archaeologist Dr. Lou Fitzgerald is used to unexpected happenings, and they don’t usually faze her. After surviving a childhood disability, and dealing with an unfair boss, Lou has learned the art of rolling with the punches. But when she arrives at Dark Lake, what was supposed to be a simple archaeological dig is beyond even her wildest imaginations.

Land owner Evan Close has his own reasons for keeping the secrets of Dark Lake, and this attractive interloper is a menace. Her precious dig threatens to bring his house of cards tumbling down around him, and he feels helpless to stop it.

It soon becomes apparent there are dark forces at work, and Lou’s simple assignment turns into a mystery. Solving that mystery comes with a steep price.


Get your copy today!

Amazon.co.uk United Kingdom

Amazon.com United States


 

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Dark Lake:

Lou leaned back in her chair, glad she was sitting down. Her heart raced, cheeks burned and her stomach clenched. “You’re kidding me,” she finally managed past the huge lump in her throat.

“No. I’m sorry. I’m not kidding. I’m deadly serious.” Varian certainly didn’t appear sorry, and he definitely didn’t sound apologetic. He both looked and sounded smug, as if this had been his plan all along.

“I can’t leave,” Lou insisted. “Didn’t you hear me? We found it. Proof that I was right all along.” She waved a file at him. “This is my work. My discovery. You can’t just replace me.”

Make that replace her again—the same way he always did, right when she was on the cusp on proving something or on the brink of another discovery.

“I’m sure your team is more than capable of carrying on without you.”

“Uh, no, they’re not,” she spluttered. Were they really having this conversation? “They need me as much as I need to be here.”

“Are you saying you don’t trust them?”

“No. I’m not saying that at all! I trust them implicitly. Well, most of them anyway.” She sucked in a deep breath, her hands curling into balls under the desk. She tamped down her temper and tried to put a lid on her emotions. “I’m saying I’ve put years into this and I want to—”

“—be the one to finish it?” Varian completed her sentence in that annoying manner, which only served to irritate her further.

She scowled, fingers drumming on the desk. “Yes. Is that so wrong? It’s my work, my paper, my blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention sleepless nights that have gone into this and you want to ditch me in favour of some up and coming lackey so you and he can take the glory? Again. It’s not fair.”

“Life isn’t fair. You’ve got an hour to get your notes and files together before you brief him and me—”

“I don’t believe I’m hearing this!”

“Then you leave and don’t look back.”

Lou scowled harder, wishing she could give him the “stink-eye” as Jim termed it when they were kids. “Who is he anyway? This person you’re replacing me with.”

“Monty is coming down to…”

She almost yelled aloud in frustration, reining it in at the last second. Monty was Varian’s son. It made sense he’d be the one taking over now that they were so close to a discovery that would make her name and put this corner of Wales on the map right up there with Stonehenge and the Grand Canyon.

Instead, Lou picked up a pen and hurled it across the portacabin. “What a surprise. You know, it’s so nice to see that nepotism is alive and well and flourishing in Wales. The exact same way it does all over the country wherever the Sparrow Foundation can be found.”

She paused, counting to five slowly. “Are you sacking me?” she muttered.

“On the contrary, I have a nice simple job for you.”

“Tell you what. Send Monty to do your nice simple job. See if he can do that without messing it up. We all know what happened on the Tumbrel dig. How he was responsible for those deaths.”

Varian’s expression darkened, and Lou wisely shut up before he really did sack her. “Have you heard of Dark Lake?” he asked.

“Should I have?”

“It’s a reservoir up in the Pennines. The villages of Abernay and Finlay were flooded in the first half of the last century to make the Aberfinay Dam, shortly before the start of the Second World War. It’s now known locally as Dark Lake after the new village that sprang up next to it. The dam provides water for one of the large towns. It doesn’t matter which one. The whole area is owned by an old family friend, Evan Close.”

Her fingers drummed her irritation on the desk. “And? What does this have to do with the price of fish?”

“The water levels have dropped enough to see the church spire above the level of the reservoir. A few unusual artefacts have washed ashore. I want you to go up there and see what’s going on.”

“Why?”

“Like I said the land is owned by a family friend. Neither of us wants this getting into the media. We’d prefer it be handled quickly and quietly. I can get you permission to dive once or twice. And arrange for a diving team to meet you up there.”

“Can’t it wait a few weeks?”

“No. It has to be done now.”

“Send Whatshisface up there.”

“Monty can’t swim. You can. You have a gold medal to prove it.”

Lou chewed her bottom lip. “That was a lifetime ago. I had to make a choice over careers, and I chose archaeology. I finally get my big break, and you’re taking it away from me. When I’ve done all the leg work, all the research…”

Varian handed her a file. “I’d shut up about now if I were you. Assuming you want to keep your job. I’m sending you to Dark Lake. End of discussion. I’ll see you in an hour.”

Lou stood. Part of her wanted to quit on the spot, but the other part of her had more sense. “You know what? Brief yourself. These are all my files and notes. I’m sure my team can tell you anything else you need to know if you can’t read my writing.”

“Lou…”

“Don’t you Lou me. I’ve spent the best part of ten years working for you, and this is how you repay me. Every. Single. Time.” She stomped over to the door and slammed it hard behind her.


More about Clare

Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. They have recently been joined by Hedwig and Sirius the guinea pigs. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.

Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children’s stories. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.

Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American in some of them, the books contain British language and terminology and the more recent ones are written in UK English.

The first draft of every novel is hand written.

She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars.

She can be found at:

http://www.revell124.plus.com/clarerevell/

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Tuesday’s Teaser with David Arp

Me and Jake

Today I have author David Arp talking about his new book, Me and Jake. Welcome, David.

Q: How would you describe your main characters?

Ty and Cameron Ray are twin brothers, but as different as the seasons. They’re only 14, but recognize the differences. Ty is the thinker, the one who has the patience to have faith. Cameron is practical. He sees the black and white in situations and people that eludes his brother. He has to see it to believe it. Faith is not in his vocabulary.

Q: What problems do you characters face?

If being a teenager growing up in rural Arkansas wasn’t enough, their father is abusive. Ty and Cameron have been worked like men since their dad took custody of them. Before they knew better, surviving the physical trials took precedent. Now that they know that how their dad treats them is wrong and they’re big enough to do something about it, they wrest with the moral implications of their actions.

Q: What would you like your readers to know about your characters?

Ty, Cameron, and their coon dog, Jake, were inspired by a friend whose real childhood story is too difficult to read. I used Ty and Cameron to give readers just a hint, and provide a tale of love and redemption.


Read an exceprt from Me and Jake

The rattle of Dad’s old pickup lingered long after the taillights disappeared into the darkness. Cameron stared after it. I stared after it. I’d heard twins think alike, and it must have been true because there we stood, like statues in the cool morning.

A pair of goats had more sense.

I let my right hand rest on Jake’s head. My one-eyed Black and Tan Coonhound was never far from me. “What now?” I asked. Like I didn’t already know the answer.

“What time is it?” my brother whispered.

I shrugged. He knew I didn’t own a watch, but he asked anyway. “Morning time. Real early, I think, but maybe not. Clouds might be hiding the first rays. No stars out and all. Why are you whispering?”

Cameron let out a hard breath and looked up at the black sky. “I don’t want to wake up. We got to bed just shy of eleven. I don’t feel like I slept an hour before Dad yelled at us. I wonder what’s stuck in his craw. Did you hear anything he said to Momma Ray before we left? I didn’t.”

Our stepmom demanded we call her Momma Ray. “I heard ‘em talking, but all lovey-dovey, with Dad sipping coffee between times. They sound like a tractor tire hissing air around a nail, whispering back and forth at each other. You know they don’t have us in mind when they do all that mushy stuff.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“Let’s get cranked up and cut some hay.”

“Um, wait. What’s that noise? T, I think your angel is on the run?”

Everyone called me Ty but my brother. I liked it that way.

I looked down to my right, then behind us. Where in the world? Jake had slipped out from under my hand and walked away without me knowing. “Jake is an angel. Only looks like a dog.”

“Brother, we’re fourteen, nearly fifteen. Angels and coon dogs? Come on. That’s fairytale stuff.”

“Well, how do you explain—?”

“I don’t have to. I’m not the one who thinks an old flop-eared hound’s an angel.”

My beliefs about Jake were an ongoing subject Cameron wouldn’t let be. Cameron’s anger was quick to flare up. He was lucky I wasn’t like him. His nose would’ve been bloody about then.

A deep bay echoed across the hayfield. Jake knew I was looking for him and hollered to let me know what he was up to.

Cameron elbowed me. “T, I’ll bet Jake’s on a coon. Let’s go!”

Just because a coonhound has coon in his name doesn’t mean he’s limited to chasing only masked bandits. Given the chance, Jake was apt to go after any critter that had legs to run on. Rabbits, squirrels, deer, bobcats and even a stray housecat could attract his attention.

Most times, I’d be the first one to run off and chase critters with Jake, but…Dad would show up again soon, sure as shooting, and he’d know by looking at the field we’d been playing around instead of tending to his business. “What about mowing? Dad said—”

“You didn’t listen. Dad said to cut hay when the sun comes up. The sun ain’t up. I’m taking him at his word. Let’s have some fun for once.”

Cameron made a lot of sense.

I hoped Jake hadn’t jumped a deer. They don’t tree. They keep running and running and running.

Jake could howl the bark off an oak tree when he got to going and made it easy to follow his line of travel. His bark led us across the pasture.

The sun was closer to coming up than I thought. Before we entered the trees at a run, I could see good enough to avoid low limbs, rocks, and tree trunks. And it was cloudy. Low and wispy, like fog, only higher, the kind Dad always said would burn off as soon as the sun came up.

The ridge across the north side of our pasture rose to our front. I pointed left, cut right, and yelled back at Cameron. “Go that way. I’ll circle in case they cross the top. Meet me at the pond.”

Cameron and I knew the country around our pasture. We had explored the woods with Jake many times. If I could make the top of the ridge before Jake chased his prey up the hill, I could call him off.

We didn’t own a gun, so we chased coons just to hear Jake’s voice. Maybe, too, we liked to run for the fun of it, free of the everyday chores that took up all of our time. If the coon treed, Jake would give him a good what-for, howling out of frustration because the chase was over, and we could get back to the hayfield and go to work.

My heartbeat kept pace with my feet as I pounded up the steep ground between rocks and trees. Bushes and tall grass shed the morning dew and soaked my britches. Once on top, I stopped to catch my breath and listen to Jake’s ramblings below. The coon was leading him in a circle. Jake’s bark echoed in the cool morning air and sounded like two dogs on the hunt.

Then, the biggest ruckus broke loose. Screaming and howling the likes I never heard before erupted. The hair jumped up on my head and goose bumps popped out on me from head to toe. What in the world? It sounded like Jake caught the boogieman. I headed back down the hill as fast as I could run.

The pond wasn’t big. About fifty paces across. Cameron and I had visited the little water hole many times for a drink when we could escape the hayfield without Dad catching us. Sometimes the water was clear, most times not. The smell of mud, rotten plants, and frogs and such made me wonder how I’d put my lips in it for a long drink so many times before.

The woods opened up and the pond came into view. Jake swam around in the middle, like he couldn’t make up his mind which way to go. A big coon scurried out of the water and disappeared into the bushes on the opposite bank. To Jake’s left, another critter thrashed in the water. A red and white…what? Coon? I stopped and stared, stuck in the mud like a dead tree stump. Moron.

Cameron wore a red ball cap and a white shirt, but he couldn’t swim.

My scream propelled me into the water.


Buy links for Me and Jake

Amazon

Pelican Book Group—e-book edition

Pelican Book Group—softcover edition


Find David online

https://davearp.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/david.arp.3

Friday’s Feature with Suzy Parish

Flowers from Afghanistan

by Suzy Parish

Today is Suzy’s much anticipated “Release Day” of her debut novel, Flowers from Afghanistan. I’m thrilled to have her here today answering a few questions and letting us get to know more about her new novel.

Welcome, Suzy! Let’s get started.

Q: Tell us about your favorite character in your new book.

Suzy: My favorite character was a surprise to even me. As I wrote, one secondary character kept stealing lines, butting his way into scenes and asserting himself quite boldly. He is a riot. He worked so hard to claim his space that I decided to give him his own book. The next book will feature him.

Q: Do you read the reviews and comments of your readers?

Suzy: I do. I like to remind myself of this quote by Benjamin Franklin; “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” If we take the good reviews too much to heart, we risk getting the big head. If we absorb the negative reviews, we risk shutting down our creativity.

Q: How much of yourself do you put into your books?

Suzy: That’s been a question I’d like to research among authors. If we write what we know, then there are bound to be many experiences and emotions that we share with our characters. When I have a character that is going through something, I think back over my life to times I felt similar emotions. I want my writing to be authentic.

Q: Some people believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Suzy: Being a published author is hilariously fun! It’s like a trip to Disney. But to arrive at Disney, there is a great deal of sacrifice. You must plan, save, educate yourself on the layout of the park, or you possibly will miss some of the most thrilling rides!

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors? Have you met any of them and found yourself having a fan-girl moment?

Suzy: Homer Hickam and Andrew Greer. Fan-girl, no, but I was impressed by both of these author’s down-to-earth demeanors. Homer resides in my city, and he and his sweet wife Linda regularly volunteer at a cat adoption center. They clean the cages and play with the cats.

I met Andrew Greer at a retreat. He was engaging and just a regular guy. I think those humble qualities say a lot about both of these authors.


Weighed down by guilt following the death of his two-year-old son, Mac McCann accepts a year-long position training police officers in Afghanistan. Leaving his wife Sophie to grieve alone, he hopes the life-or-death distractions of his self-imposed exile will build a wall between him and his pain.

As camaraderie builds between Mac and the men on base—including a local barber and his precocious little boy—Mac’s heart becomes invested in stories beyond his own tragedy and he learns he is not the only one running from loss. But when the hour of attack arrives, will he be able to see past his guilt to believe there’s still something—and someone—worth living for?

With touching details based on true events, Flowers from Afghanistan is a redemptive journey of healing, a chronicle of hope in crisis, and a testament to the faithfulness of God through it all.

Get your copy today!

Purchase on Amazon

Purchase on Barnes and Noble

Purchase on iTunes


About Suzy

Suzy Parish wrote as a Community Columnist for the Huntsville Times and has been published in Splickety Magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Suzy discovered her love of books as a child in Richmond, Virginia when she took refuge from the summer heat in the local Bookmobile. She believes strongly in the power of literacy to improve the lives of individuals and stewards a Little Free Library in a local park.

You can find Suzy online here:

Suzy Parish Web Site

Suzy Parish on Facebook

Suzy Parish on Goodreads

@SuzyParish on Twitter

Suzy Parish on Instagram

Suzy Parish on Pinterest